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Based on Lenin's writing and your own thoughts, why had working class people never...

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busylizzy15 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted April 9, 2013 at 1:42 AM via web

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Based on Lenin's writing and your own thoughts, why had working class people never developed their own economic philosophies?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 9, 2013 at 10:43 AM (Answer #1)

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For Lenin, the working class people in Russia had never developed their own economic philosophies because the transfer of economic discontent into social and political action had never been envisioned.  Lenin's What Is To Be Done addresses this point.  For Lenin, the problem in being able to mobilize the working class in Russia was that there was no directed structure or end to which the economic philosophies to the working class could have relevance:

The question arises, what should political education consist in? Can it be confined to the propaganda of working-class hostility to the autocracy? Of course not. It is not enough to explain to the workers that they are politically oppressed (any more than it is to explain to them that their interests are antagonistic to the interests of the employers). Agitation must be conducted with regard to every concrete example of this oppression (as we have begun to carry on agitation round concrete examples of economic oppression).

For Lenin, working class people in Russia never developed their own economic philosophies because agitation was never seen in a broad scope.  There had not been an education in which working class hostility could be channeled into something larger, with political implications for change.  Implicit in this is a read of Marxist "praxis" in which theory and practice merge.  Through such an argument, Lenin makes the argument that working class people needed to be instructed as to how their own experience can be seen in something larger, an economic philosophy in which real change was evident.  For Lenin, the primary aim of Bolshevism was to enact this change on a larger enough level.  This "vanguard of the Proletariat" was the structure that would allow the working class people to develop an economic philosophy that could form the basis of real and valid change.

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